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Nations join up on earth monitoring

Government officials and scientists from over 30 nations and 20 international organisations have agreed to improve monitoring of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land, and to create a global network for sharing the resulting data. Participants at the Earth Observation Summit held recently in Washington, United States, agreed to work together to fill large gaps in the network of sensors that record the Earth’s “vital signs”, particularly in developing countries.

It is believed that an improved global observation system shall provide better tracking of climatic changes and threats to biodiversity. Anticipating such changes could help monitor disease outbreaks, control drought, protect crops and strengthen models of flood prediction and energy use. Some scientists believe that such a system could have significant economic benefits in addition to tracking emerging environmental problems.